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Tuesday of the Fifth Week of Lent

My dear encountered couples:

In the middle of the summer, when the temperature reaches the 90’s and stays there, in some places into the hundreds for weeks, and the air conditioning goes out, we can begin to sympathize with the Jews in the desert. They were hot, thirsty, hungry, and this trek through the desert seemed eternal. Actually it ended up lasting forty years. Who could endure that without a whimper?

“Why have you brought us up from Egypt to die in this desert, where there is no food or water?” they complained to Moses. “We are disgusted with this wretched food!” How many times have you heard your children say that? Or thought it yourself? The Jewish people were pushed to the limit, and they complained. What did God do? Take pity on them, send in a cold front and a caravan of camels laden with culinary delights?

“In punishment,” we are told, “the Lord sent among the people saraph serpents, (poisonous snakes), which bit the people so that many of them died. Then the people came to Moses and said, ‘We have sinned against the Lord and you. Pray the Lord to take the serpents from us.”

This punishment sounds extreme. We might even wonder why God punished them at all. Maybe he was giving them a crash course on the value of trusting him no matter what.

Complaining is telling God he doesn’t know what he’s doing. Does anyone dare do that? I’m afraid we do. Praying for change is not complaining, but a little more trust is what God expects from all his children.

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